Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)
TITLE: The Stranger's Dreadful Task
By Marilyn Schnepp
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Slowly making his way through the crowd, he cringed with horror and astonishment at the scene before him. Three men carrying heavy wooden crosses were struggling up the hill while the crowd taunted and hurled debris at them. The stranger's heart filled with sympathy for the victims.
As he stood silently watching the three men struggle up the hill, he saw one of them stumble and fall to the ground. On his head was a crown of thorns; and it was obvious the man was weak from hunger, thirst and loss of blood from the open wounds on his back.
One of the soldiers quickly scanned the crowd and spotted the foreigner from Cyrene in North Africa, "Hey, you there! Come here and pick up this fellow's cross and carry it to the top of the hill!"
Simon looked around to see who the Roman soldier was talking to, and saw him pointing at him. He stepped up as ordered, picked up the fallen man's cross and shouldered the heavy burden of His cross as he followed the man up the hill to His death.
He wasn't aware of it at the time, but Simon, the out-of-towner, performed a job that angels would have died for - to carry the cross for the Jesus, the Savior of the world!
Later, when Simon was told who this man was, I'm sure his reflections of that trip to Calvary were etched in his mind forever. And his dismal task was a blessing in disguise.
Although Simon wasn't aware of, or even sensed immediately the magnitude of his position, it was truly unique; for he was the only man in history to have the privilege to carry the cross of Jesus physically and the last; for it will Never be repeated again...by anyone.
"And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross to carry it behind Jesus" Luke 23.26. RSV
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